LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Fire Department’s highest-ranking woman ever has announced her retirement.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Deputy Chief Roxanne V. Bercik, 55, has been a leader in promoting diversity within the organization, especially in recruiting and promoting female firefighters.

The 29-year department veteran’s announcement came as the first class of fire department recruits in five years was released, which showed only one woman among 70 new recruits.

Mayor Eric Garcetti told City News Service that “we need to do a better job of ensuring that a representative group of firefighter recruits is in each class.”

Bercik’s position is expected to be filled within existing fire personnel, according to Garcetti.

“There are some tremendous women who are at the captain level who would absolutely be in command staff,” he said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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